By Jean Lotus
The Roos Building is up for auction March 27, wrapping up the foreclosure process, which would make the property available for sale to the Park District of Forest Park.
The decrepit industrial parcel with two commercial buildings at 7329 W. Harrison St. has been on the park district's radar for several years, ever since a development group led by Aleksandr Troyanovsky went bust.
"We are totally ready to move," said park board President John Doss. "Let's keep our fingers crossed. We are in talks with Harris Bank."
The auction is a formality in the foreclosure process. Typically, the bank bids the amount owed on the foreclosed property and then, if no other bidders show up, the bank owns the building, which can then be sold.
In 2006 the building was purchased for $4.7 million. The mortgage on the property was $4.56 million, through Omni National Bank. A quartet of partners, including Troyanovsky, Tomaz Litwicki, MW Housing Partners III LP, and Designbridge Ltd. began work on the building, which was being marketed as loft condominiums. The project failed with the housing crash and the building has stood vacant for three years. Adding to the complication and delay was a bankruptcy case involving of one of the partners.
In 2010, the park district increased taxes through a referendum to purchase the property.
At the time, the park district plan was to preserve part of the building and use it for a teen program center, a preschool facility, a fitness room, multi-purpose classrooms, camp programs and a party room, along with offices and rooms to serve as headquarters for West Suburban Special Recreation Association.
The district's wish list also included an open grassy area, a gazebo and picnic area, an amphitheater for outdoor concerts and performances, a plaza with fountain and benches, extended walking paths, garden plots for community gardening, an ADA-compliant playground and a covered bicycle parking area for CTA commuters. There was also talk of demolition of part of the property for a gymnasium.
Whether all of these projects will be completed is not clear. Doss said the board may reconvene resident panels to see whether Forest Parkers still want what they wanted in 2010.
"We've had so many times when we've come close with this project. If we could announce before the election I would love it," Doss said. "It will be great for the whole town to have the park own that property — and that is the board's goal. This is the year of the Roos."